September 18, 2008 By Andy Opsahl
Bus riders and Metrorail subway passengers in Washington, D.C., could soon have another option for reporting incidents to Metro Transit Police: text messaging. Train passengers often complain of being too intimidated by rowdy teenagers to report juvenile crimes via phone calls. Text messaging could provide a stealthier way to alert police.
Passengers with either BlackBerrys or Verizon cell phones would be the first riders able to text message crime reports. Verizon is the only cell phone provider offering service underground in the nation's capital. BlackBerrys also work underground because they operate on a proprietary network. If the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) pursues the idea, staffers would do a trial run to explore how the process would work.
"It is not at all intended to be the primary means by which people communicate with the police department, but it would be another option. It's something that is already being done at other police agencies across the country," said Lisa Farbstein, WMATA spokeswoman.
Metro Police have no idea yet how they would roll out this project because it's still in the discussion stage, Farbstein said. Whether or not WMATA makes the option available to passengers will depend on the findings of the employees-only pilot program.
Photo Chris Metcalf. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.